Formula E returns to Malaysia for thrilling Putrajaya ePrix [w/video]
Following his victory at the Beijing ePrix that opened this second season, Sébastien Buemi took pole position and looked poised to dominate once again. That was especially the case after Stephane Sarrazin, who qualified in second place, failed to start off the line and was relegated to the back of the grid. Loïc Duval placed third, with Antonio Felix da Costa fourth, Nicolas Prost fifth, and Lucas di Grassi sixth. But the starting order would prove just that, and little more, as the race saw more thrills and spills than a tablecloth-pulling contest.
Beumi wasted little time opening up a lead in the beginning laps of the race. He briefly lost the advantage after Oliver Turvey ran into the wall with a pegged throttle, but Buemi held onto the lead and moved clear of the field again after the safety car was recalled.
That left Duval, da Costa, Prost, and di Grassi jockeying for position. The battle continued past the car-swaps around the halfway point, with shorter and longer, earlier and later pit stops changing up the order. Out of the pits, Prost got the jump on his team-mate Buemi, but their early stops meant they had to conserve power the rest of the race. That opened up a four-way fight for the lead, with di Grassi and then da Costa emerging at the front of the pack.
Then came the crashes. Duval busted his suspension in the fight and, though he held on for a while, was ultimately was forced to retire. Around the same time, Robin Frijns smacked into the wall, but managed to nurse the car across the finish line. Prost's earlier lead vanished after he collided with the wall as well. And d'Ambrosio crashed out in the same place as Duval, but heartbreakingly on the final lap.
After all the carnage and the trading of places on the sandy street circuit, Lucas di Grassi emerged first to cross the finish line. It was his second win in the series, following his win last year in the season opener in Beijing. And with it – on top of his second-place in Beijing this year – di Grassi took the lead in the standings.
Sam Bird managed a very impressive second-place finish, having started way down in fourteenth place and with electrical problems leading into the race. Frijns made it across the line in third to round out the podium. Behind them came Sarrazin, Bruno Senna, da Costa, Daniel Abt, Nelson Piquet, Nick Heidfeld, and Nicolas Prost – with Jacques Villeneuve just outside the points in eleventh place.
Having once again clocked the fastest lap, Buemi racked up an extra couple of points to secure second place in the standings, behind di Grassi and ahead of Bird. The next round will take place – following a break of over a month – in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on December 19.
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